James J Stearns (OH 1941 - 1958)
20/09/2007
JAMES STEARNS 1941 - 2007

James was a former School House resident who had joined HCS from Dulwich Preparatory School. Before that he attended Coursehorn School in Cranbrook.

James unfortunately suffered an aneurism whilst seated alongside his wife Patricia on board a BA flight from Johannesburg bound for London. The aircraft was in fact about to taxi out onto the runway for take-off , destination Heathrow. He and Pat had just completed a very successful and well earned holiday in Southern Africa.

James was a farmer by profession and a family man. However, among his many other professional and personal achievements, he recently found the time to visit New Zealand to trace his fathers' roots. In the Summer of 2006, James managed to obtain tickets to Lord's and was delighted to be able to take his youngest grandson to watch his first ever live Test Match v. Australia - the year in which England regained the Ashes !!

James had lived in Kent all his life and as well as eventually becoming a local Tory Councillor, he was a founder member of the Cranbrook Rugby Club, having been a former player, then more recently as Club President. Latterly he ran a bed & breakfast business within Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, with his wife Pat, with whom he had been married for over 40 years. He leaves 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

A Thanksgiving & Memorial Service was held at St Dunstans Church, Cranbrook at 2.30pm on Friday 16th March 2007 and the small church was full to capacity with family and friends, some of the mourners being former HCS students from The Fifties era. The hyms that were selected included Jerusalem & Amazing Grace. However, others had a distinct ' Rugby ' feel to them because we sung " Swing Low Sweet Chariot " , " Land Of Hope And Gloryand " then Parrys' " I Vow To Thee My Country " which was re-written as " The World In Union " and now adopted as the official RWC Anthem.

A private burial ceremony took place afterwards. All attendees at the funeral were invited for refreshments at The Granary Restaurant, a fitting location situated within the grounds of Sissinghurst Castle, where at least 500 people joined to celebrate James' life.
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